A new milestone for improving dementia care in hospitals

Nicci Gerrard on holiday with her father, John, in Sweden last year.
Nicci Gerrard, the founder of John’s Campaign, with her father John, the inspiration behind it

Today, John’s Campaign is celebrating that all acute trusts in England have voluntarily signed up to the Campaign. In this blog, we celebrate what this means for people with dementia and their carers during a hospital stay. 

Admission to hospital can be an anxiety provoking experience for anyone. For someone with dementia it can be particularly frightening: surrounded by strange noises, smells, people, equipment and routines. It can be disorientating, disruptive and scary.

People with dementia often experience poorer outcomes and stay in hospital for longer, compared with the general population. For many, a stay in hospital results in the worsening of their dementia symptoms and they leave hospital less independent. 

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Getting it right for people with dementia in hospital

The care of older people with dementia is a critical issue for hospitals. An estimated 850,000 people in the UK live with dementia and it is thought that around a quarter of all people in hospital have dementia.

Prevalence of dementia increases with age, as does the average length of time people spend in hospital if they’re admitted.

This means getting care right for people with dementia should be a central component of good hospital services. For a number of years the National Audit of Dementia has been examining how well hospitals are doing at meeting the needs of people with dementia and their families and carers.

In this guest blog, Chloe Snowdon, Deputy Programme Manager of the Audit, explains what they are looking for and how you can get involved.

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It’s time to talk about ageing

A guest blog from Professor Alan Walker, Professor of Social Policy & Social Gerontology at The University of Sheffield, on how the creation of a social policy for ageing could lead to a better later life for all.

If we are concerned about the quality of later life we must focus on the ageing process as a whole, the life course, and not only the last segment of it.  This is because the financial, social and mental resources that people possess in old age are often determined at much earlier stages of the life course.  This is obvious in the case of pensions, which depend massively on occupation, but is also true with regard to physical and mental health.  For example, childhood deprivation is associated with raised blood pressure in later life.

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Why we should all be encouraged to talk about death and dying

This week (14th-18th May) is Dying Matters Week, a campaign to raise awareness of the importance of talking about dying, death and bereavement.

We all seem to find it difficult to have conversations with people we love about death and dying. It brings up uncomfortable emotions so we tend to shy away from it.

Talking about death often feels like a taboo subject in our society.

Yet all of us will experience the death of a loved one at some point in our lives and talking more openly can often make it seem less scary.

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Heatwaves – a hot topic

After such a wet winter, a bit of sun may sound like no bad thing, but people often underestimate the effect of high temperatures on older people: the 2003 heatwave led to an alarming 22 per cent increase in mortality among people 75+ in England and Wales. So I was very pleased to be invited to a roundtable held by the Parliamentary Environmental Audit Committee, as part of their Inquiry into Heatwaves: Adapting to Climate Change.

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Windrush scandal: urgent questions for the new Home Secretary

This blog was written by Emily McCarron, Equality and Human Rights Policy Manager at Age UK.

It’s said a week is a long time in politics, and this week has proved this adage in spades. On Monday, the new Home Secretary promised to leave ‘no stone unturned’ in pursuit for the truth about the Windrush scandal. As an organisation, we want to make sure that all older people can enjoy their later life, so we have some questions that we hope the Government will answer after the revelations of the last few weeks.

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New UK survey reveals our beliefs about staying sharp in later life

Filling out WKYS survey
Filling out the ‘What Keeps You Sharp?’ survey

This guest post was contributed by Dr Alan J. Gow, Associate Professor in Psychology at the School of Social Sciences, Heriot-Watt University

What keeps you sharp?

That’s an important question for many of us, especially as we get older. It was also the name of a nationwide survey exploring what people expect to happen to their thinking skills as they get older, and the first results from this have just been released.

Over 3000 people across the UK responded to the survey, aged from 40 to 98 years old, and we’ve published these findings in a new report, ‘What Keeps You Sharp?’. Aimed at the public, older peoples’ groups, charities and health professionals, our intention is to help everyone think about their brain health in the same way we’ve become more knowledgeable over recent generations about managing our heart health or lowering our risk of certain cancers.

What did the results say?

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